Sunday, 9 February 2014
Bee Mask - Pear Growers Series 1 [Pear Growers]
Bee Mask's Unripe Pears and Dozzy's subsequent remix album have been two highlights of the past couple years so it's not surprising that this twelve with remixes from Surgeon and Abdulla Rashim is to the same high standard. Surgeon takes Unripe's standout cut The Story of Locks & Eyes and adds in his own distinctive rolling take on techno. This one's for the blissed out sunrise crew. On the flip, Rashim's take is the straighter of the two, turning Bee Mask's original washed out daydream into a psychedelic nightmare. While the original synths sound like they come from a futuristic tropical utopia, Rashim's turns them into screams from an Aguirre-esque jungle.
Crazy Bald Heads - First Born [Text]
An obscure and rare UK garage release from the late 90s that was recently reissued By Four Tet on his Text label after being featured in his Fabriclive CD. Sounding like a mixture between Four Tet's own work and a Steve Gurley tune, this is a tune with plenty of twitches and quirks, never staying the same for more than a few bars. The heavy bass and drums are offset by delicate vocal cut ups, ethereal synth washes and micro-samples that sound like they've come straight from an Akufen song.
Elgato - Links/Sun [Galdoors]
The third release from the promising new label Galdoors is two brand new slices of Elgato. Links comes from a similar place as 2012's Zone, but whereas the later channeled DMZ vibes through minimal techno restrained grooves, Links seems do the opposite and transform Perlon-esque sound sources into a dark, bass heavy roller. Sun is an intriguing piece of dub techno sounds like a soundsystem version of a Chain Reaction record.
Erika - RMXD 2.0 [Interdimentional Transmissions]
This release features four remixes of the excellent 2013 album by Erika, Hexagon Cloud. The Isreal Vines and Patrick Russell remixes are excellent additions to their discographys, but the real gems on this release are the remixes from Donato Dozzy and Outer Space (of Emeralds fame). The Dozzy remix features a triplet bass line that turns the songs into a cosmic waltz, with the original synths taking on the role of singing harpies that float around the main rhythm. The Outer Space cut is surprisingly club friendly for John Elliot. Starting from a beatless soundscape, the songs slowly gains momentum as it gradually morphs into strange voodoo techno.
Lumisokea - Apophenia [Opal Tapes]
Opal Tapes have been one of the most interesting labels of recent years, carving their own niche in the 'outsider' electronic landscape. An incredibly eclectic label that has featured noise techno, new age, weird strains of house and whatever you want to call Wanda Group. This one by the Lumisokea duo could be categorized in the first bracket, sounding like the middle crowd between the headfuck gauze of Container and digitized sheen of Alva Noto. This would is perfect for any techno selector wanting to spice up their sets and damaging an open minded crowd at the same time.
Headless Horseman - HDL 004 [Headless Horsemen]
Headless Horseman are back with the 4th release in their white label series. This one features two fantastic pieces of hard, apocalyptic techno but the Ancient Methods remix is the one to watch out for, transforming the already excellent original into a high definition, rhythmical stomper.
Positive Centre - Hiding Knives [Our Circula Sound]
2013 felt like a particularly stagnant year for techno. Outside of a certain few labels and producers, it felt like the scene was having a early 00's revival of the quest for harder and faster beats. Seeing AnD or Blawan spin felt particularly tiring after anymore than half hour, with selections of crunching, stepping techno that left little room for subtlety or dynamics. However, it wasn't all that bad (and I'm probably being unfairly whiney), and Sigha's Our Circula Sound was one of the labels that really stood out. They've started 2014 in unsurprisingly, excellent style. Positive Centre's An Assembly was one of the highlights of last year that showed how industrial techno can really be done. Tapping in the to metronomous, robotic rhythms of factories in a way that felt truly original, they've carried that on with their new release Hiding Knives. What's most impressive about these four cuts, is that they managed to turn monochrome, mechanical source material into psychedelic, voodoo rollers that would feel completely at home on labels like Prologue or Fullpanda.
Willie Burns - Tab of Acid [Off Minor]
One of the most vital and interesting contemporary artists, Willie Burns returns to the always excellent Trilogy Tapes label. There's a great video published by FACT showing the New York based producer composing his tunes through an outboard sampler. He takes a few chosen sounds and then live jams with them, sequencing live. I would love to here how he turned the original source material into these fucked up, kaleidoscopic bangers. The title cut is an acid freakout in the best tradition of Emmanual Top and classic Djax-Up-Beats. The flip features two cuts of ambient house that shares similar lineage with the music of Torn Hawk, that would be a perfect for a 5am heady crowd while the sun reveals the faces of the dorsal ravers.